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One little Christian fish, swimming against the current, flashing in the sunlit waters!


Luke 9:52-56

NKJV

52 . . .And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. And they went to another village.


 

 

Philipp I, Landgrave of Hesse
Source: Reformation Picture Gallery – People web site

Philipp was known as der Großmütige, 

Philip the Magnanimous!

I hope you will see that by the grace of God he truly was magnanimous! 

Philipp was Landgrave [Count] of Hesse, a region in Germany. When he was only five, his father died. Until 1518 he was under the regency of his mother Anna.

He introduced the Reformation into Hesse,

founded the University of Marburg,

and was one of the most zealous promoters of the Reformation in Germany.

In his attitude toward the Anabaptists he showed extraordinary generosity and kindness. He saw in their movement a disorder in religious life, which had its roots in error and weakness in the faith rather than in moral error like sedition and revolt, and which must therefore be treated with lenience and consideration.

He said,

“On every hand there is no perfect faith in us, so that we must say: Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.”

“Alas, how cold love is among us who call ourselves Christian and those who create such offense must give an account before God and bear a grievous judgment.”

Above all, he said, one must try to lead the Anabaptists back to the church by persuasion and indoctrination. His heartfelt policy was a matter of conscience. He would not agree to execute anyone for a matter of faith, where there was no other ground for taking his life. Otherwise no Catholics or Jews could be tolerated, he said, for they blasphemed Christ and they too would have to be put to death.

He declared in a letter of May 1533, that he had never yet had a man put to death solely on a matter of belief; he had merely banished such or commanded them to sell their goods and move out – only the obstinate who refused to go had he arrested. He could not persuade himself “to punish anyone with the sword because of an error of faith, which is a gift of God, and was adopted at the time, not from malice, but from ignorance.” 

When 18 Anabaptists were again seized in Hausbreitenbach and the Elector of Saxony demanded their execution, Philipp refused with the words, “Our Lord will give grace that they may be converted.” His hope was fulfilled in several instances.

After the fall of Münster and the capture and condemnation of the Anabaptist leaders, upon Philipp’s express wish an attempt was made to convert the leaders by the Protestant clergymen Antonius Corvinus and Johann Kymeus. His view was that,

“One should pray God to correct the errors in his own life and to admonish the Anabaptists kindly and in a friendly spirit. . .it is necessary to use caution and not make use of the sword until all other means have been tried.”

His policy included the abolition of vices in his realm because Anabaptists were offended by them. But they also included sharp punishment of foreign and local Anabaptists: beating, branding, and banishment. However, he wasn’t greedy of their confiscated goods but stipulated their return to the Anabaptists if they would depart his realm.

Philipp never confirmed a death sentence. In 1540 he was able to write that in his realm the death sentence had never been inflicted on an Anabaptist. In that day, Anabaptists were executed elsewhere and other German nobles tried to convince him to follow them in this. Instead he took pains to induce imprisoned Anabaptists to recant. He sent a letter in his own hand to those jailed at Wolkersdorf, chiding them but saying that he wanted to deal with them graciously and kindly, and was therefore sending them a God-fearing man who wanted to discuss with them in a friendly way their error and that they should listen to this person:

“. . .he shall show you the right way, so that you may come to the true knowledge of divine truth, which we would most heartily like to see and would rather hear than to proceed against you with rigor, as is our right, since you refuse to desist from your unchristian sect.”

To this end he called Martin Bucer, reformer of Strasbourg, to Hesse. This led to success. The Anabaptist Peter Tasch and his followers declared themselves willing to submit to the church. They presented their modified principles in the document:

Bekenntnis oder Antwort einiger Fragestücke oder Artikeln der gefangenen Täufer und anderer im Land zu Hessen vom 11. Dezember 1538  [Confession or answer of some questions or articles of the captive Baptists and others in the country of Hesse of December 11th 1538].

The statement was accepted by the Lutheran clergy. Eagerly Philipp accepted the proposal of Bucer to have these converts win their own brethren. He did not hesitate to deal with Anabaptists in person, and to his great joy most of them within his realm returned to the established church.

Writing to Johann Friederich in 1545, Philipp gave his general reasons for the policy, citing Matthew 13:24-30; Luke 9:52-56; Romans 14:1-5; and Romans 12 ff. He wrote,

“These quotations block our path to such an extent that we cannot find it in our conscience to proceed with such rigor against a person who errs somewhat in the faith; for the person might accept instruction over night and desist from his error. Now if such a one should straightway be put to death by one of us, we are truly concerned that we may not be innocent of his blood. . .Therefore it pleased us once more, wherever these people are, that they be arrested and indoctrinated by skilled persons with the Word of God; and those who would not return to the church and desist from their error after being instructed should be expelled from the country; if they returned or if they were so completely obstinate that they might infect others they should be kept in prison.”

This letter provides evidence of a generous mind and noble religious tolerance, in which he far surpassed his contemporaries and the reformers Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon. He represented a new era, while they were still in the clutches of the Middle Ages. He maintained this position even during his imprisonment by Charles V after the Schmalkaldian War. In 1559, in an opinion to Johann Friedrich of Saxony, he says,

“It is so, many Anabaptists have an unchristian evil sect, as was shown at Münster and elsewhere; but they are not alike. Some are simple, pious folk; they should be dealt with in moderation. Anabaptists who deal with the sword may rightly also be punished with the sword. But those who err in faith should be dealt with leniently, and shall be instructed in accord with the principle of love to one’s neighbor, and no effort shall be spared, also they shall be heard, and if they will not accept the truth and scatter error like a harmful seed among Christians, they shall be expelled and their preaching abolished. But to punish them with death, as happens in some countries, when they have done nothing more than err in faith and have not acted seditiously, cannot be reconciled with the Gospel. Other Christian teachers like Augustine and Chrysostom also violently opposed it.”

Philipp also impressed his attitude upon his sons in his will:

“To kill people for the reason that they believed an error we have never done, and wish to admonish our sons not to do so, for we consider that it is contrary to God, as is clearly shown in the Gospel.”

Philipp’s sons and descendants held to this attitude. His spirit of gentleness and reconciliation lived on among them. 

In spite of his zeal in promoting the Reformation, Philipp’s personal life was marred by a licentious lifestyle and a bigamous marriage. In 1523, Philipp married Christine of Saxony and they had 10 children; then, in 1540 he married Margarethe von der Saale with whom he had 9. He argued with various Reformation leaders that because Scripture allowed men such as the Old Testament patriarchs to have more than one wife, he was therefore entitled to have two marriages. This situation led to a weakening of his relationships with other German Protestant princes.


Extracted from:

Neff, Christian and Richard D. Thiessen. “Philipp I, Landgrave of Hesse (1504-1567).” Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2007. Web. 7 Nov 2017.

Please go there for detailed citations.


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Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 163-166. All rights reserved.

©1996-2017 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.


Quote of the day – Why the Reformation still matters


Please take time to read the wonderful article from which this quote is taken. Dan C of The Battle Cry has posted it. It is greatly encouraging and filled with insight!


Now is not a time to be shy about justification or the supreme authority of the Scriptures that proclaim it. Justification by faith alone is no relic of the history books; it remains today as the only message of ultimate liberation, the message with the deepest power to make humans unfurl and flourish. It gives assurance before our holy God and turns sinners who attempt to buy God off into saints who love and fear Him.

Michael Reeves

Why the Reformation Still Matters

Found at The Battle Cry


 

History briefs — Luther comes to Christ


Romans 1

NKJV

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”


The following is an insightful passage about Luther’s faith, from a beautiful tribute to him and Calvin, two men whom the Lord used in an extraordinary way during an extraordinary period of history. The article is interesting and edifying in many ways.

Soli deo Gloria — glory to God ALONE

Portrait of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach, via Wikimedia Commons

Luther’s Loyal Son

by R. SCOTT CLARK
reformation 21

Luther was the pioneer of Protestant theology, piety, and practice. He gradually became Protestant in the period between 1513-21 as he lectured through the Psalms, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, and the Psalms again. Reading Augustine as he lectured on the Psalms he realized that the doctrine of man and sin that he had learned in university did not agree with Scripture nor did it agree with Augustine. In the Psalms he saw that human depravity is greater than he had thought and grace is greater, more powerful, and more free than he thought, that God has elected his people to new life and true faith unconditionally, from all eternity (sola gratia). By the end of his lectures on the Psalms he had become young, restless, and Augustinian but he was not yet a Protestant. As he lectured through Romans, he began to see that the basis on which we stand before God is not the sanctity wrought in us by grace and cooperation with grace but Christ’s righteousness accomplished outside of us and imputed to us. As he lectured through Galatians he came to see that view confirmed and he began to re-think what he had learned about the role of faith in salvation, that it was not just another virtue formed in us by grace and cooperation with grace. The picture became clearer as he lectured through Hebrews and the Psalms again. Late in life, looking back at his theological development, he said that it was as he lectured through Psalms again that the light went on, as it were, and he realized that it is faith that apprehends Christ, that rests in and receives Christ and his righteousness for us. It is through faith the Spirit unites us to Christ so that he becomes ours and we become his (sola fide).


Insight on prophecy from the Historical perspective


Revelation 13

And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.


Stephan, our brother from Germany, published an image of the following page at his blog, SheepAlert, in a post entitled,

500 Jahre Gegenreformation / 500 Years Counter-Reformation

(Pocket BIBLe Handbook, Henry Halley, 17th edition, 1946 page 636)

You can read the posts at SheepAlert by using a tool such as Google Translate. It is well worth it.

Here is a transcription of the text of the page above:

“. . .the persecution of Nero and Domitian. 42 months meant a temporary period.

   “To the Futurist interpreter, the Beast is the Antichrist himself, in his 10-kingdom federated empire, the last form of Gentile dominion, in the Tribulation period, just before the Lord Comes. His blasphemies, and his brutal war on the saints, will make it a time of trouble, the like of which the world has never before known. The 42 months are taken to be a literal 3 1/2 years.

   “To the Historical interpreter, the Beast represents the Concentration and Personification of World-Power, thru the whole period of history, as one Entity, but manifesting itself in various forms and in various ages; with many and diverse modifications. The Seven Heads are the Seven Great Powers which have dominated history: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and Papal Rome. The healing of the death-stroke refers to the rise of Papal Rome out of the ruins of Pagan Rome, and its domination of the world on a vaster extent, and for a longer time, and with a more despotic hand, than any of its predecessors. The blasphemies refer to the claims of the Popes to infallibility, authority to forgive sins, grant indulgences, etc. The war on the saints is taken to refer to the Papal persecutions of the Middle Ages and early Reformation Era, in which, some historians have estimated, over 50,000,000 martyrs perished at the hands of Papal Rome and which constituted one of the cruelest and most brutal chapters in the history of mankind. The 42 months, 1260 days, is taken to mean 1260 years, the approximate duration of the Papacy as a World-Power, 6th to 18th centuries.”


Cropped - Jan Hus Before the Council of Constance Vaclav Brozik

Jan Hus Before the Council of Constance in 1415, by Vaclav Brozik.


 

Happy Day!


STICKY POST FOR OCTOBER

Wyclif Giving The Poor Priests His Translation of the Bible by William Frederick Yeames

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the cathedral door at Wittenberg, Germany, inviting discussion of the extremely problematic sale of “indulgences” by the Roman Catholic Church.

This October, let’s celebrate the Reformation, a centuries-long happening, whose seeds were sown with Wycliffe in England and Huss in Prague, grew to maturity with Luther, and flowered in Scotland’s Second Reformation.

Let’s rejoice in this work of God, in which men and women returned to our foundation in the Bible, and its clear testimony that salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone, the Rock, the Son of the Living God!


Matthew 16

13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.  19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.


 

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